What do you think about at night?

Posted: October 22, 2010 in hidden admonishment
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All around me, Freshman crawled like ants along the east side park. They came from downtown. They came from up the hill. They came from the river like rats. They weren’t like anything. They weren’t like ants or rats. They weren’t like that. They weren’t even Freshman, but they were wet behind the ears with wet bedroom eyes, wet with the putrid lake, wet on the dry grass; a seething mass of youth soaked with ideals, and passions squirming under laughter and light caresses.

Hold my hand.

I joined them. Apart. People watching without the concept of a pastime; not watching. I reduced them to whispering shadows with twinkling white teeth that glistened with the water. They became raindrops in the dark; the safe, cool dark offered by the east side. The east side. The east side.

I stood in the center of the monument no one ever paid any attention to, but it was always lit at night. I felt the rain coalesce around me in the dark on a clear, and perfect night, and then the water disappeared, too. It was just me fluttering with the moths in the lights.

Breathe in the scorched air bathed in the halogens.

They came up laughing, knocking the wind out of me. I receded into shadow as they conferred amongst each other concluding in their collective confidence that I was a bitch. It came out of nowhere. It always does. I have spent many nights alone in places young girls that care about themselves never go, but I have only ever found myself afraid when confronted with groups of young people; groups of strangers that are not strange to each other; groups of predators that could be reasoned with or picked off in solitude or pairs. Groups, however, have a different mentality than any one individual alone.

The audacity of youth.

I found a stranger’s name pressed in relief. I felt it burn across my cheek; sunken heat and raised letters. I found him in the monument’s paver bricks that had cradled my face as I slept. “I’m glad you stayed with me,” I muttered with my fingers tracing the depressions of a name I didn’t know that once belonged to a man I’ll never meet that I’m told died for me…

like Jesus?

Feel free to scoff now at my inappropriate indolence concerning my own salvation. Deride the day felt like it might break soon, and it was one of those awakenings when I didn’t want to wait. You confessed to me a couple years later that it was the craziest thing you’d ever done.
You told me that you were scared.
You said that looked like nothing in comparison to everything that followed.

You told me all of this after I told you I was done.

I remember thinking it was kind of sad that the moments with my life wrapped up in yours
were the most poignant you’d ever experienced.
I hope that’s not still true.
I was struggling to feel something; anything.
Maybe that made me a little crazy.

It’s possible.

I look back on those moments and wonder if I thought it was sad, because what I do feels normal to me…or because you felt exhilarated, and I’m still hunting for feeling.

That craziest moment that set it all off for you was a disappointing night for me outside in the rain.
Do you remember?

Summer rain.

I took you out into an early morning thunder storm where the sky hung low and pink with the city’s light pollution.
It never got dark on an overcast night.
I still hate that about city life sometimes.

I led you down into an urban thicket and pinned you to the ground
and when you let your fear sear into the open impulsiveness of my actions
I stood up abruptly, leaving you to curl over to your side coddling yourself.
Had you ever even let the rain touch you before that night?
I don’t remember what I said; if I said anything. I think I just picked up my clothes in stony silence and stormed out into the open rain, dressing in wet, sticky garments as I went.

You were an asshole to me, and you told me two years later that it was because you were scared.
“Of what? The rain?”
“No,” you responded. You thought I was daft. You told me it was best that we end it, after it ended. You said, “You wouldn’t be able to keep up with me anyway.” You said it while I sat on the edge of my bed feeling as if I’d been kept hostage in my own place. You said it after having your way. It was your way of saying that I could have mine, so long as I acknowledged it was yours all along.

So, what do you think about at night?

Sometimes…I think about the past.


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